Timothy (Tim) Garrish was born on January 4, 1950, in Oliver, British Columbia (BC). His parents were Arthur Ross Garrish (1915-1996) and Elizabeth Nancy Garrish (nee Grimsditch, 1921-1984). Garrish grew up on an orchard in Oliver, on land that his father had first purchased in 1934. As a child, he spent time doing farm work on the orchard. From age 16 onwards, he worked in fruit packinghouses and sawmills. Garrish graduated from Southern Okanagan Secondary School in Oliver in 1968, then attended the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Simon Fraser University (SFU). During his summer breaks while in university, Garrish held jobs in mining exploration in northern BC.
At age 22, Garrish earned his Commercial Pilot’s License. His first job in aviation was flying for Superior Airways/Severn Enterprises Ltd in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, starting in May 1972. Garrish then moved to Fort Simpson in September 1973 to fly for Arctic Air Ltd. In 1974, Garrish returned to Langley, BC, to earn his Flight Instructor Rating, followed by a stint as a flight instructor on weekends while back at university between January 1975 and December 1976. Garrish graduated from SFU with a Bachelor of General Studies (Economics and Geography) in December 1976.
In 1977, Garrish began doing seasonal (summer) fire suppression work. He started in 1977 working for Wolverine Air Ltd (WAL) in Fort Simpson. Garrish then spent more than four decades doing fire suppression work in the summers, including working for Avalon Aviation (1978-1980) and Conair (1983-2022).
In 1978, Garrish flew for Wolverine Air Ltd (WAL) once again. Flying for WAL in the winters became a constant in his life. In 1988, Garrish became part owner of WAL with Les Dvorak, who had started the firm in 1972. Garrish and Dvorak were co-owners of Wolverine Air until 1993, when they sold the operation to Chris Yarrow. He lived in Fort Simpson until 1995, at which point he relocated first to Canmore, Alberta then back to his home base in Oliver, BC. Garrish’s duties at Wolverine Air included both Chief Pilot and Operations Manager at various times. He continued to work for WAL as a relief Operations Manager/Pilot in Fort Simpson during winters as required until 2010.
In 1981-1982 and 1987-1988, Garrish worked with Pacific Western Airlines (PWA) flying the L-100 Hercules and the Boeing 737. He was based in Edmonton and flew for PWA’s high Arctic operations.
In 1988, Garrish became the Managing Director of Airports North Ltd in Fort Simpson. Airports North Ltd became responsible for the management and operation of the Fort Simpson Island Airport in 1988 and operated it on a ‘user pay’ model. It was one of only a few airports in Canada to be financially self-sustaining, operating without any form of government assistance.
From 1994-2010, Garrish also worked as an aviation consultant with Hemlock Aviation Services.
Tim Garrish continued to fly fire suppression in the summers for Conair until 2022 when he retired after 39 years with them. In total Garrish did 51 years of accident-free commercial flying during his career, including 44 seasons doing aerial fire suppression (16 in Yellowknife). He lives in Oliver, BC, and is currently writing his memoirs of his flying adventures.